Caladrius, Cend announce definitive merger agreement; Caladrius CEO to lead combined company

Basking Ridge-based Caladrius Biosciences Inc. and privately held Cend Therapeutics of San Diego have agreed to combine in an all-stock “merger of equals” transaction approved by the boards of directors of each company, according to an announcement this week.

Following closing, the combined company would be renamed Lisata Therapeutics Inc. and would trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol LSTA, Caladrius said.

The merger is expected to close in the third quarter.

After the merger, Lisata is expected to advance CEND-1 as its lead product candidate in a variety of difficult-to-treat solid tumor applications, including pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

Caladrius CEO and President David Mazzo will be the CEO of Lisata. Cend CEO David Slack will be Lisata’s president and chief business officer.

Dr. Kristen Buck, current executive vice president of research & development and chief medical officer with Caladrius, will continue in those roles with Lisata.

The transaction values each company at $90 million, which for Caladrius represents a 136% premium to its market cap as of the market close Tuesday.

“As we communicated to our shareholders frequently over the last year, Caladrius has been seeking to identify and evaluate strategic development opportunities with the aim of consummating transactions that will deliver additional value to our shareholders beyond our current development pipeline,” Mazzo said.  “After a comprehensive review of available opportunities and with the aid of specialized consultants, we concluded that a merger with Cend provides Caladrius shareholders with an attractive opportunity for potential value creation by immediately expanding and diversifying our development portfolio.”

Mazzo also said he believes Cend’s technology has the potential to deliver novel and improved treatments in patients with solid tumor cancers.